50 Coffees: Brendan Baker of Greylock And AngelList

Mike and I met up with Brendan Baker of Greylock (formally with AngelList) for dinner tonight.  Brendan was introduced to us by Luxr co-founder Janice Fraser as a person that we should meet with.  Janice mentioned that Brendan had vetted over 3000 pitches for AngelList and has great insight into the VC and Angel financing world, plus he is a Luxr graduate and is Canadian (he is from Vancouver as well).

It was great to chat with Brendan, as advertised, he has tons of experience in dealing with startups.  One thing that he mentioned, that makes us happy, is that he likes the name “PayrollHero.com”.  Brendan had lots of insight into the financing circles in Silicon Valley and was able to answer lots of our questions about the tech world here.

(L – R) Stephen Jagger, Brendan Baker and Michael Stephenson

(50 Coffees)

50 Coffees: Vy Le CEO of Rudy’s Barbershop

We had the pleasure of meeting up with Vy Le, the CEO of Rudy’s Barbershop.  Vy is a busy public speaker, hitting many of the technology events.  I first saw her speak in Vancouver at GrowCon and saw that she was coming to San Francisco (she lives in Seattle) to speak at event tomorrow.  So I dropped her an email to see if she had a moment to meet up.  When she was in Vancouver, she mentioned on stage that she had a “wish list” for all the developers in the room.  She then put up a slide of the technology she wished she had for her Barbershop chain.  One of those items was payroll software.  Vy responded to my email and agreed to pop by the PayrollHero house to learn more about what we are doing and explain her needs for her 14 stores (with more on the way) across 3 states.  It was a pleasure meeting Vy and she had lots of insight into the payroll world.  I look forward to meeting up with her again in the near future.

(L – R) Stephen Jagger, Vy Le, Michael Stephenson

(50 Coffees)

MobileMonday: Secrets to Building A Successful Business On Mobile

“Mobile entrepreneurship is alive and well. How does a company build their business on mobile?  Hear from app developers like Hotel Tonight and PunchTab how they drive downloads and monetize mobile apps, learn how the Barnes & Noble NOOK has become the “sleeper success story” for Android developers, and find out how to create and manage mobile apps for the enterprise from AppCentral.”

Tonight I ventured over to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to check out the MobileMonday event.  This was a well attended event at the University that brought together a panel of 4 mobile entrepreneurs to talk about their products in the mobile space.

The event was moderated by  Scott Schwarzhoff, VP of Marketing, Appcelerator and the panelists included Ranjith Kumaran, CEO of PunchTab, Chris Bailey, CTO of Hotel Tonight Ted Patrick, Chief Evangelist & Developer Relations of Barnes & Noble and Ken Singer, CEO of AppCentral.  It was a packed event with lots of different takes on the mobile space.

Entrepreneurs Roundtable @ Pillsbury

Tonight there was an event held at Pillsbury Law Firm, where 4 VC-backed game startups presented their companies and how their experiences worked with their respective VCs.

The main event was Margaret Wallace, co-founder/CEO Playmatics and Shadow Government.  Previously she co-founded Skunk Studio and Rebel Monkey.  Prior to that, she worked at Shockwave, Mindscape and PF Magic as game producer of many game titles.  After Margaret, the other 3 companies each took a few moments to tell their stories.

It was a great event with a very international crowd.  Attendees from South Korea, Lithuania, Canada, Greece, Mexico, Australia to name a few.  Fantastic job by Shirley Lin for putting the whole event together.


View from the middle of the room

50 Coffees: Tim Smith, CEO of Inman News

Tim Smith, CEO of Inman News (the CNN of real estate) dropped by the PayrollHero house tonight to meet the team, check out the product and grab dinner with Mike and I.  Tim comes from the real estate technology world, but before that was in charge of Oracle’s technology events around the world.  He is a wealth of information on many topics and doing a fantastic job growing the Inman News business.

(L – R) Michael Stephenson, Tim Smith, Stephen Jagger

Tim Smith having a video chat with Tin in Manila, PH

(50 Coffees)

50 Coffees: Dan Martell and Christopher Golda

Today Mike Stephenson and I met up with fellow Canadians Dan Martell and Christopher Golda at the Samovar Tea Lounge in downtown San Francisco.  Dan is a proud Canadian entrepreneur who has been living in Silicon Valley for quite a few years.  I emailed Dan to see if he had some time to meet up and he agreed as well as brought along fellow Canadian Chris Golda.

Dan recently sold his company Flowtown to Dreamforce and Chris was the founder of BackType which Twitter bought earlier this year.  It was great to meet up with them as they both had unique views on Canadians living in the US and how the VC world perceives tech startups from Canada or with teams straddling the boarder.

(L – R) Stephen Jagger, Michael Stephenson, Christopher Golda and Dan Martell

(50 Coffees)

50 Coffees: Bryce Maddock And Jaspar Weir of Taskus

Taskus.com co-founders Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir dropped into San Francisco from their hometown of Los Angeles to meet some of their outsourcing clients here, and as part of that trip, they popped by to visit with us.  Taskus.com is a competitor of our other company, OutsourcingThingsDone.com, but is also one of the first alpha clients of PayrollHero.com.  They use PayrollHero to manage their over 225 employees in Manila, PH.

Jaspar and Bryce stopped by the PayrollHero house and then we went out to dinner to catch up.  It was great to chat and learn about their growing business as well as their first hand experiences with PayrollHero.

(L – R) Stephen Jagger, Bryce Maddock, Jaspar Weir and Michael Stephenson

(50 Coffees)

How Do We Manage Working In 2 Cities?

PayrollHero has 1 team in 2 locations.  Four of us are currently in San Francisco USA, the rest of the team is in Manila PH.  How do we deal with the team across different time zones, in different offices, within different countries? (Tip: A Window)

We use a few different tools to keep the team “close”. Some of those tools include; Yammer.com which is a fantastic tool for online chat within the team.  It allows team members to have group chats about tickets they are working on, bugs, new features, etc.  It is a great way to communicate, while not disturbing team members when they are focusing on something else.  Google Chat works well for one on one conversations and Google Video if you need to see and speak with a specific person.

For our standup morning meetings, the development team has 2 flat screen TVs (1 in each location) each connected to an Apple Mini with iChat.  This allows the team in both locations to stand up and meet just as if they were all in the same location. (kind of like looking through a “window” into the other office)

(L – R) Michael Stephenson and Piotr Banasik (foreground) chatting with 5 members of the PayrollHero team in Manila on the screen

(L – R) Adam Baechler and Stephen Jagger (foreground) with the developer daily standup meeting happening in the background